Yes, Health Insurance Marketplaces Will Bring Change and Hope!

October 1, 2013 was the first day that many Americans across the country potentially would be able to sign-up for Healthcare in the United States due to healthcare reform legislation – the Affordable Care Act. I am not going to debate the points or merits of the legislation; instead, I just share with you a simple and true story.

I have the opportunity and privilege to travel for my job across the United States. In my most recent trip to our nation’s Capital two weeks ago, I had a most interesting conversation with my taxi cab driver.

He said to me, “So you are going to the Health Building?”

I replied, “Yes, I am going to the Department of Health and Human Services.”

“Hmm…Can you tell me right now how I can now sign-up for healthcare?”

He went on to tell me that he had never had any health insurance. He could not qualify for health insurance and had been rejected for health insurance twice.

I also asked him where he received his healthcare, and he said to me, “Wherever I can get care.” He then shared with me that he doesn’t always go to a doctor, because he could not afford to pay for the care.

I went on to explain to him what a Community Health Center was and how it could potentially be of assistance to him.  I then explained the Health Insurance Marketplace program and the difference between the federal and state programs. I told him about my work at HIMSS and how information technology supports the Health Insurance Marketplaces and healthcare overall.

As I exited the cab, I gave him my business card with a few website addresses and wished him the best of luck. He thanked me and said he was looking forward to finally being able to get healthcare. He would look up the information on his cell phone.

I thought to myself, “How is it that the man who provided me with safe journey to my destination has never had health insurance?”

Leaving the cab and looking at the Capital dome just across the way from the HHS Building, I was reminded that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

October 1, 2013, brings great hope to many!

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